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On which days of the year is Tachanun omitted from the prayers?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Tachanun is omitted from the prayers on Shabbat, all the major holidays and festivals (including Chol Hamoed), Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah and Purim.

The following is a list of all the other days, “minor holidays,” when tachanun is excluded from the prayers:

[Note: On days when tachanun is not said, it is also omitted from the Minchah prayers the afternoon beforehand—except where otherwise noted.
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Tishrei 9 – The day before Yom Kippur1 (but not the minchah of the day beforehand).
Tishrei 11-14 – The days between Yom Kippur and Sukkot.2
Tishrei 24-29 – From after Simchat Torah until the conclusion of the month.3

Kislev 10 (Chabad custom)4
Kislev 19-20 (Chabad custom)5

Shevat 15 – Tu b'Shevat.

Adar 15 – Shushan Purim
Adar I 14-15 – Purim Katan and Shushan Purim Katan.6

Nissan – The entire month.7

Iyar 14 – Pesach Sheni (but not the minchah of the day beforehand).
Iyar 18 – Lag b'Omer.

Sivan 1-5 – The beginning of the month until Shavuot.8
Sivan 8-129

Tammuz 12-13 (Chabad custom)10

Av 9 – Tishah b'Av.11
Av 15 – Tu b'Av.

29 Elul – The day before Rosh Hashanah (but not the minchah of the day beforehand).12


Additionally, Tachanun is not recited in the presence of a groom who was married within the past seven days, or the father of a boy who will be circumcised that day. Tachanun is not said in a community on the day it is having a Siyum Sefer Torah. Tachanun is also omitted in the house of a mourner who is sitting shivah.13

Footnotes

  • 1. Apparently, this is a demonstration of our confidence that we will be completely forgiven during tomorrow’s Day of Atonement; written and sealed in the Books of Life and Prosperity.
  • 2. During these days we are totally engrossed in preparations for the festive holiday of Sukkot—such as purchasing the Four Species and erecting a sukkah. Additionally, the 1st Holy Temple was dedicated during this time (see I Kings, ch. 8).
  • 3. Seemingly because we are still under the influence of the festivals. There are communities which resume saying tachanun on the 25th of Tishrei.
  • 4. On this day Rabbi DovBer, the second Lubavitch Rebbe, was released from prison in 1826 after being incarcerated by the Russian government on trumped up charges.
  • 5. These days mark the liberation from prison of Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of the Chabad branch of chassidut, in 1758. He was imprisoned as a result of false charges brought by opponents of his efforts to disseminate his unique style of chassidut. These days are known as the “Rosh Hashanah of Chassidut.”
  • 6. During a regular year, Purim is celebrated universally on the 14th of Adar, and inhabitants of cities which are walled since the times of Joshua (such as Jerusalem) observe the holiday on the 15th of Adar -- Shushan Purim. Tachanun isn't said on either day; no matter where a person lives. During a leap year, Purim and Shushan Purim are observed during Adar II. However, these same dates in the preceding month, Adar I, are called Purim Kattan ("Minor Purim") and Shushan Purim Kattan, and are also observed as minor festivals.
  • 7. The Tabernacle was inaugurated on Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Every day of the first twelve days of this month, one of the tribal leaders, the “Nassi” of the tribe, offered inaugural sacrifices as representative of his tribe. The 14th of Nissan is the day when the Paschal Offering was brought. Nissan 15-21 is Passover. Since the greater part of the month is comprised of festive days, “the majority rules” and tachanun is omitted the entire month.
  • 8. On the first day of Sivan, the Jews arrived in the Sinai Desert, and a five-day period of intense preparation for the giving of the Torah began. During these days, Moses went up the mountain several times, relaying G-d’s messages to the Jews, and returning with their responses — including their famous reply, uttered on the 5th of Sivan, “we will do [all of Torah] and then [attempt to] understand.”
  • 9. When the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem, all Jews were commanded to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year — Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot —and offer sacrifices to G-d. Passover and Sukkot are week-long holidays, ample time for all the pilgrims to offer their sacrifices. Shavuot, however, is a one-day festival (in the Land of Israel), so the Jews were permitted to offer their Shavuot sacrifices until the 12th of Sivan.
  • 10. On the 12th of Tammuz of 1927 the Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn was released from the exile which the Soviet regime imposed on him for the “crime” of creating an underground network of Yeshivot, Mikvahot, etc. (That date was a Soviet holiday, so the actual release papers weren’t issued until the next day – the 13th of Tammuz.)
  • 11. Although Tisha b’Av is a sad day, a biblical inference compares it to a festival. For a deeper understanding of this concept, see "Is it true that the Messiah will be born (or was born) on Tisha b'Av?" (http://www.askmoses.com/qa_detail.html?h=110&o=43879)
  • 12. Also because we are certain that G-d has a wonderful year in store for us!
  • 13. Though this seems counter-intuitive, our sages teach that a person’s death brings atonement for his family and friends, thus rendering tachanun unnecessary.

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Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs
Holidays » Other Days of Note

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Sukkot
A seven day autumn festival commemorating the miracle of the Heavenly Clouds which enveloped the Jews while traveling in the desert for forty years. On this holiday we dwell in makeshift booths and shake the Four Species.
Shevat
The eleventh month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to January-February.
Tachanun
Sections of the prayers involving confession and asking for forgiveness. Tachanun is omitted from the prayers on the festive days of the Jewish calendar.
Tishrei
The seventh month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which arrives in early autumn, has more holidays than any other month: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Purim
A one-day holiday celebrated in late winter commemorating the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation issued by Persian King Ahasuerus in the year 356 BCE.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Adar
The twelfth month on the Jewish calendar. This month (which falls out approx. February-March), is the most joyous month on the calendar due to the holiday of Purim which is on the 14th and 15th of this month.
Nissan
The first month of the Jewish calendar. This month, which falls out in early spring, is known for the holiday of Passover which starts on the 15th of Nissan.
Rosh Chodesh
The "Head of the Month," Rosh Chodesh is observed the first day of every Jewish month. If the previous month had 30 days, then the last day of the previous month is also observed; hence a two-day Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh is a semi-holiday, marked by Torah-reading and special prayers.
Chol Hamoed
(lit. "mundane [days] of the festival"), the intermediate days of the Festivals of Passover and Sukkot. On these days many of the holiday work restrictions are lifted.
Shavuot
Early summer festival marking the day when the Jews received the Torah at Mount Sinai in the year 2448 (1312 BCE).
Siyum
Completion. Usually referring to one who has completed a tractate of the Talmud; a joyous event which warrants a festive meal.
Iyar
The second month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to April-May. The 18th of this month is the holiday of Lag b'Omer.
Sivan
The third month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to May-June. This month features the holiday of Shavuot.
Kislev
The ninth month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to November-December. The holiday of Chanukah starts on the 25th of this month.
Elul
The 6th month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to August-September. This is the month which precedes Tishrei, the month of the High Holidays, and is a month of introspection and repentance.
Av
The fifth month of the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to July-August. The saddest month of the year due to the destruction of the Temples, and the many other tragedies which befell the Jews in this month.
Tammuz
The fourth month on the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to June-July.
Minchah
Afternoon prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.